I was looking forward to this exercise as it was so different from the previous ones, and I had no real expectations. I think also I was feeling challenged and a little frustrated with the previous two colour exercises.
I prepared a couple of sheets using a mixture of acrylic paints; green, white and bronze. I really just brushed them on, spraying a little water onto the mixture. It came out a bit dark so perhaps it would have been better to do more of a lighter wash because I really had to work in a lot of colour to make any visible marks.
My approach for this exercise was that, not knowing much about mixed media, not to think too much beforehand and just go with whatever happened. As I watched my paper curling rapidly I realised my first mistake, I should have used a heavier weight paper.
Being conscious of not getting enough depth into previous works, I spent longer getting the composition right, using more objects and moved them around a lot. I’m kind of impatient but was able to quickly find a composition that I liked.
I sketched onto the paint using soft graphite sticks then decided to use some decoupage paper for a collage effect, to represent two of the bottles; this paper is really light and easy to tear and also easy to draw over. Next I used wax crayons but they didn’t really show up well so I used some marker pens instead, these were strong enough to show through and I had to be quite definite and bold in my marks, primarily to show up against the dark paint. There was a real sense of layering with this picture, probably because I had to do it in stages for the paint and glue to dry and the marker pen seemed to fade so there was a lot of going over. I also used some metallic marker pens for highlights and some coloured compressed charcoal.
This was hugely enjoyable and I am very happy with the outcome, perhaps because I haven’t produced anything like this before. The drawing style was quite bold and definite for me, I had to be bolder and stronger in style so that it would show up. It feels more complete than some of my other work so maybe I am developing this sense of knowing when to keep working into the drawing more. I do hope so as I’ve struggled with knowing when to stop, when to go back and rework something.
Seeing it on the computer screen, I am very happy with the palette, considering I had to work with what media worked over the dark paint, I think the limited palette works well. One of the difficulties was working over different papers and textures, as some had different absorbency. I did consider cutting the decoupage paper from the coconut and pomegranate but decided it would look too clean, and I rather like the overlap and the different textures. There was a lot of decisions to make, especially as it felt experimental in nature, I wasn’t sure what would work or not, but it was quite liberating having no rules to follow, other than my choice to keep everything water based as I thought that would be easiest for my first attempt. In conclusion, a very enjoyable exercise, which surprised me.